2018 Ontario provincial results

I should stop making Michael Power predictions.

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38 teams gathered in Scarborough for the 2018 Ontario SchoolReach provincial championship. As mentioned in the previous post, the preliminary round-robin whittled the field down to ten, with playoffs the following day.

The University of Toronto Schools beat Martingrove CI 460-300 in the final. London Central SS took third place from Royal St. George’s College 430-350 in a concurrent match. The full results table is found here.

The three Nationals-bound teams were predictable. UTS has been dominant everywhere all year, and were the feared team of the tournament. Martingrove and Central each came in with an independent tournament win; they did not face each other during provincials, so it’s hard to say who is the better between the two.

I didn’t do as well with predicting other teams. A few teams like UCC and Nepean did not come, while Banting and Cameron Heights were oversights on my part. I wonder if my Banting omission led to their underestimation by UTS, but UTS won out in the playoff rematch.

The UTS loss also made the playoff bracket interesting. Their upset occurred in round 2 of the prelims, so teams easily became aware that UTS was going to be seeded lower than expected, likely as 5th or 6th, depending on if all pools had 7-0 winners. It would also mean that UTS would most likely enter the second playoff round facing the #2 seed (#1 seed would get the highest loser; UTS could have the worst seed among winners). Central remembered this from last year, and spent the afternoon scoring fewer points in an effort to drop to the #3 or #4 seed. It was all within rules, but it definitely made the bracket even stranger. If Lisgar had beaten RSGC, Central would have faced UTS, but it didn’t happen and Central got the playoff path they needed to earn the Nationals spot. A potential solution for this is to have the top seeds pick their opponent for the round; it always encourages teams to finish as highly as possible, and allows top teams to avoid out-of-place seeds if desired.

Another rare occurrence happened in the playoffs – a need to resolve a standings tie in points. RSGC and Lisgar both scored 240 points in a losing cause in the second round. This had previously occurred in the first round of 2008, and a similar case of teams being tied in wins and points after prelims occurred in 2005. Reach’s resolution was to have the captains face off on five questions. Why it was only the captains and not all 4 players makes no sense; in fact, with shootouts and assigned questions used to promote having a balanced team of four rather than a single generalist who can get points on anything, this tiebreaker flies in the face of a team-first mentality that Reach would probably want to encourage. The tiebreaker should have had all four players contributing.

Aside: if Central and Westmount had tied on PPG for the #2 seed after prelims, would both captains make no attempt to get points in the tiebreaker? Hmmm…

Sunday’s questions were an improvement over previous years. “Garbage” questions like wordplay, old pop culture, and math involving complicated numbers were essentially gone. Former quizbowlers are entering the editing pool, and I argue that the change is for the better; this year was the highest-scoring set since 2011, thanks to getting rid of questions most players don’t even buzz on. Monday playoffs were a relapse, though, but expect more “scholarly” topics come Nationals.

Speaking of Nationals, I will make a preview over the long weekend. Congratulations to all the teams that participated in Ontario provincials, and good luck to the representatives heading to the national championship!

2018 Ontario prelims

How I failed to predict properly.

I’m trying to get this done mostly on mobile, so bear with it.

Excuse the short-form team names, but the Ontario preliminary rankings are found here. Two pools had 7 teams, resulting in teams sorted by total losses rather than total wins.

The playoff teams:

  1. Martingrove (139%): Probably benefited from, once again, having the lowest SOS to accumulate a lot of points for the ranking tiebreaker after losses. Should be stronger than the R-value might suggest.
  2. Westmount (140%): Like Martingrove, Westmount had an easier pool for picking up more points. They may face a tough road to the semis with the playoff jumble, though.
  3. London Central (143%): Central is stronger than their R-value. They allegedly spent the afternoon scoring as few points as necessary after news of the UTS loss, so as to avoid a top seed that would have to face a “bottom” UTS in round 2 (which happened last year). This might backfire.
  4. RSGC (131%): RSGC squeaked by Glebe by 10 points en route to sweeping their pool. Unfortunately, their reward is to take a seed that has to face a strong loser.
  5. Banting (137%): The 13th place team from last year and regional runners-up to Central should have been noticed by me. They got the upset win over UTS, but will have to face them again in the playoffs.
  6. UTS (167%): The strongest team in the prelims didn’t substitute players well against Banting and, like last year, created a very unusual playoff situation. UTS is not going to have any easy games in their playoff run with a worse seed than expected.
  7. Lisgar (147%): Lisgar put up their best performance of the year. The opening-match loss to Central meant they had to spend the rest of the day getting as many points as possible. This is another out-of-place seed in the playoffs, but other teams vying for Nationals can keep in mind that Lisgar will decline any qualification they get.
  8. White Oaks (118%): After years of finishes in the teens, White Oaks gets their first playoff appearance. Barring any further minimalism from Central, White Oaks will probably take a first-round exit.
  9. Cameron Heights (117%): I actually dismissed them in my pre-tournament considerations. They were in a pool that didn’t have a clear second-tier team, but still put up the eleventh-best R-value overall. Not bad for a first provincial appearance. They get a rematch with Westmount in the first round.
  10. Abbey Park (135%): Another first-timer making the playoffs. Incredibly, the highest-scoring two-loss team came from a pool with a UTS steamroller (although this also happened in 2013). A 4% difference to Martingrove may look like upset potential, but I think the perennial contenders will be too much for the Oakville team. A good showing by the Halton region, nonetheless.

Playoffs commence later today.

2018 Ontario Provincials preview

Lisgar’s attendance streak is old enough to vote.

Roughly 40 teams from across Ontario will gather next week to determine the provincial SchoolReach champion. It is the most-attended Reach tournament of the year and is usually a springboard for the eventual national champions.

The format should still be similar to that of previous years. Five pools of eight teams will run a round robin to produce ten playoff teams. The pool winners will go through, followed by the best winning records and point totals. The ten playoff teams then play a modified elimination bracket to qualify the three Ontario teams heading to Nationals.

Like last year (see the 2017 preview post), I will give an assessment of the contenders. I group them into tiers of five; it is difficult to give a clear single rank to teams with most data unavailable, and the tiers would suggest that each pool should have one team from each tier. There is likely some bias towards teams that have reported results – I couldn’t predict the 11th place team from Windsor last year, for example.

Here are the contenders, listed only in alphabetical order within tiers:

Tier 1 (should win pool)

London Central SS

  • 2017 provincials result: 5th
  • Best provincial result (on file): 1st (2007, 2009, 2014)

Central has results from the UTS fall tournament (2nd, 149%) and a mirror of the Lisgar tournament (1st, 115%). They may have lost to Martingrove in the fall, but have handily got past any other contenders they have faced. They haven’t faced the main UTS team, though, and that will probably stop them from claiming another provincial title. They are in a good spot for a Nationals qualification.

Martingrove CI

  • 2017 provincials result: 3rd
  • Best provincial result (on file): 1st (2013, 2015-16)

Martingrove will be vying for an incredible (for Ontario) sixth consecutive Nationals qualification. They won the “provincials preview” UTS tournament (1st, 123%) and breezed through their region (1st, 183%). Their underlying numbers are not as strong as some earlier years, though, and they may be vulnerable in the playoffs.

University of Toronto Schools

  • 2017 provincials result: 1st
  • Best provincial result (on file): 1st (2001-04, 2008, 2012, 2017)

There’s no skirting around it, UTS is the favourite. In Reach and quizbowl, they haven’t lost to another school, and their only statistically measured result with the main team, the Lisgar tournament (1st, 144%), is miles ahead of anyone else. They will have a heavy dose of substitutions during the prelims and early playoffs, but the B team’s equally impressive results during the year will keep the wins coming.

Upper Canada College

  • 2017 provincials result: 4th
  • Best provincial result (on file): 2nd (2016)

UCC has quietly grown to a semifinal lock in recent years. I only have their UTS tournament (17th, 144%), but I think they were victims of the very unbalanced morning pool situation – they got the points, but had to face all the contenders. Hopefully, the provincial pools will be more stable and give them another high seed.

Westmount SS

  • 2017 provincials result: 8th
  • Best provincial result (on file): 7th (2004)

Westmount has been the busiest team all year, playing any tournament they can find. They did well at the UTS tournament (4th, 179%) and regionals (1st, 184%) but got four losses to Central at the Lisgar mirror (2nd, 104%). In quizbowl, they were regularly second to UTS, but didn’t do well in History Bowl. Westmount will be hoping that all this practice makes perfect, and they have an outside chance of being the first Hamilton team at Nationals since the early 1990s.

Tier 2 (should make playoffs)

The Academy for Gifted Children (PACE)

  • 2017 provincials result: 7th
  • Best provincial result (on file): 2nd (2013)

I actually don’t know if PACE qualified, and have no results for them. This is entirely a rank based on their reputation; the years they make provincials, they almost always make the playoffs. In the event that PACE didn’t qualify, the regional representative (such as Newmarket) would probably take their place in the tiers.

Glebe CI

  • 2017 provincials result: DNQ
  • Best provincial result (on file): 8th (2015)

Glebe has never been eliminated in the provincial prelims, therefore, they will make playoffs. More seriously, they have been somewhat of a middling team all year, including at the Lisgar tournament (9th, 83%), but produced a surprise at regionals (1st, 192%) with the best R-value of the year that has been collected. Glebe’s other provincial runs were surprisingly good compared to their regular season performances, so perhaps they are attuned to pure SchoolReach format.

Lisgar CI

  • 2017 provincials result: 2nd
  • Best provincial result (on file): 2nd (2008, 2015, 2017)

Lisgar’s lineup is entirely different from last year’s national champions. They have been active this year as usual, but fall short to other busy contenders like UTS and Westmount. Their lineup appeared at UTS (7th, 135%) and regionals (2nd, 180%), but was split over the B and C teams at their hosted tournament. Lisgar has enough strength to get through the first day, but they will likely have to meet a team in the playoffs they have lost to earlier in the year.

Royal St. George’s College

  • 2017 provincials result: 9th
  • Best provincial result (on file): 9th (2017)

RSGC predictions always burn me. They have not yet been able to convert their dominance of History Bowl into Reach success. I’ve had them as potential national qualifiers in the past two years, but they only made playoffs once in that time. This year, I am putting them in the second tier range; they still have their best player, but a lot of his supporting cast from previous years have graduated. RSGC could also desperately use a provincials set that isn’t relying on recycled material from past years.

White Oaks SS

  • 2017 provincials result: DNQ
  • Best provincial result (on file): 11th (2015)

White Oaks has never made provincial playoffs before, but they look like the best of the midfield. At the UTS tournament (13th, 120%), the only teams with better R-values than them are already higher on this list. They pulled off an impressive 390PPG during their regional playoffs, but I don’t count elimination playoffs in R-value calculations (it messes up strength of schedule – they would be listed at 221% otherwise!).

Tier 3 (could make playoffs)

Abbey Park HS

  • 2017 provincials result: DNQ
  • Best provincial result (on file): no appearance

Abbey Park beat OTHS to be the other Halton representative. They put up higher scores than White Oaks in the regional playoffs, but lost the final. Abbey Park has never been to provincials (the school is younger than my records), but the good regional run and some History Bowl preparation could lead to a nice provincial debut for the team.

Michael Power – St. Joseph HS

  • 2017 provincials result: 26th
  • Best provincial result (on file): 15th (2013)

MPSJ once again got through regionals (2nd, 131%) ahead of other teams with higher R-values, but their result at UTS (15th, 95%) still suggests they could pull off a top 15 finish. They haven’t made it to the playoffs before, however, so they will need to give their best performances of the year during the prelims to achieve that.

Nepean HS

  • 2017 provincials result: DNQ
  • Best provincial result (on file): 23rd (2016)

Nepean should do better than their single previous appearance, when they were thrown into the 2016 pool of death. While they finished behind Glebe and Lisgar at regionals (3rd, 159%), they will still put up competitive numbers to justify Ottawa’s three qualification spots. Nepean was probably equal with Glebe up until the regional tournament, and could be a worthy opponent to a team in a higher tier.

The Scarborough winner

  • 2017 provincials result: N/A (Neil McNeil was 14th)
  • Best provincial result (on file): N/A

I don’t know who won Scarborough, but the region should produce a team in these tiers. Agincourt at UTS (10th, 102%) gives the best estimate of where a Scarborough team might finish.

Toronto Montessori Schools

  • 2017 provincials result: DNQ
  • Best provincial result (on file): no appearance

TMS is another first-timer that could make a good provincial debut. This team has grown quickly from an exploratory visit at Lisgar two years ago to a regional winner. They put up mid-tier numbers at UTS (11th, 82%) and the Lisgar set mirror (3rd, 84%), but winning the York region over traditional favourites like CHAT and Bayview should now put them on other teams’ radar. They have demonstrated an ability to get wins even with lower PPGs, but I don’t think they’ll make it to playoffs.


There is a fair bit of stability at the top, with the only teams from last year’s playoffs not mentioned being Assumption (did not qualify out of Halton) and Merivale (did not participate in Ottawa).

Some other teams I considered, but didn’t select, are Centennial CVI (12th and 77% at UTS), Glenforest SS (the Peel winner over teams like Heart Lake and Mayfield), Almonte DHS (10th and 69% at Lisgar), and teams from Waterloo or Niagara. I don’t want to place them in a fourth tier, though, because at that level you run into lots of teams with no results to use.

Overall, UTS, London Central, and Martingrove look like the contenders for the three Nationals spots. There could be a surprise playoff appearance by a team not on my radar, but as last year’s preview showed, provincial results are becoming more forecastable.

I will be at provincials this year without attachment to any team. This will give me some flexibility to find games I want to see. This blog will not be updated with any results until I return, but I will try to give some reports on my Twitter feed.

Good luck to all the provincial competitors!

Surprise results

UTS takes a loss?

The last regional tournament, Ottawa, finally concluded this week. After a final round robin between the top 4 of Lisgar CI, Glebe CI, Nepean HS, and Sir Wilfrid Laurier SS, Glebe won all three matches and won the region. This is Glebe’s first regional title in the SchoolReach era. Glebe, Lisgar, and Nepean were invited to provincials.

The results are found here. Additionally, the table kept by the coordinators is found here. The Ottawa results boosted the set PPG overall for regionals, making Glebe’s 192% R-value the new overall leader of reported results. Glebe “benefited” from a very tough strength of schedule where they faced top teams over and over again, but they managed to earn lots of points in those matches, including a sweep in the final round robin. There has only been one instance so far of a team reaching 190% in regionals and not making it to Nationals, but calling Glebe “nationals-bound” would be an unexpected surprise. Nevertheless, Glebe has made Ontario playoffs in all of their provincial appearances (a better record than UTS, Lisgar, Martingrove, et al), and even before regionals I considered them provincial playoff level.

Lisgar and Nepean put up R-values of 180% and 159%, which feel more reasonable. Lisgar will probably be a second-tier playoff team, while Nepean seems just outside the playoffs in the 11-20 range.

For the Ottawa region, there is definitely concern about attendance. While many signed up at the start of the year (perhaps automatically by school secretaries), the final day ended with ten teams. Three provincial invites is quite rich for that level of participation, even with the historically strong record of Ottawa teams. Considering that there are more populous regions out there with fewer invites, I would not be surprised to see future cuts to the Ottawa portion of the provincials field.

Last week also saw the downtown Toronto History Bowl qualifier. Results are in this PDF. UTS A won the senior final over Royal St. George’s College, though earlier in the day, RSGC handed UTS their first competitive loss this season (from a team other than UTS B). History Bowl is definitely RSGC’s forte, and a back-of-napkin calculation has RSGC at 145% “R-value” in the field compared to 139% for UTS A. History Bowl is not SchoolReach, however, and UTS is probably more well-rounded in the other subjects. At the other end of this spectrum, Westmount is not as strong in History Bowl, but an 89% R-value is surprising. One of Westmount’s losses was to Abbey Park, so perhaps keep an eye out for them at provincials.

Almost all the useful information I can expect to get before provincials has been gathered. All that is left is the Hamilton mirror of Lisgar’s independent tournament, which can be used to measure some GTA teams against provincials-bound UTS, Lisgar, Glebe, and Almonte. I have pretty much settled on my Ontario playoff predictions, but the release will wait until early May.

After the deadline

I wonder who won Toronto?

Ontario SchoolReach regions had to determine qualifiers by April 13, so almost everything is wrapped up. There are a few more regions sorted out.

Cobourg CI won the Northumberland region this week. They regularly represent their region at provincials, but are not expected to break out of the bottom half of the field.

UTS won their downtown Toronto region. This is not a surprise; they will be heading to provincials as the favourites.

Royal St George’s College won their downtown Toronto region (separate from UTS and UCC) in a final over Bloor. RSGC has been more successful in History Bowl than SchoolReach; they are almost equal to UTS in the former but struggle in the provincials of the latter. I have been guilty of hyping them in previous years, yet now that the main players are in their senior year, I have lower expectations. The Toronto region of History Bowl this weekend will give some more insight.

York (South) region finished on Thursday with Toronto Montessori Schools taking the title over St. Theresa CSS. This is TMS’ first provincials qualification, and have been quickly improving after embracing the independent circuit a few years ago. If the second invite is offered, St. Theresa will probably finish in the bottom half.

Despite the deadline, the Ottawa region is not finished. In fact, it only just started on Thursday. Because of scheduling problems, Ottawa will finish late and will have three invites set aside. Lisgar CI went undefeated in their pool with 406 PPG but a paltry 0.73 strength of schedule (the lowest of any Regional team so far). Glebe CI also went undefeated with 374 PPG and a much tougher 1.07 SOS. The pools were not well-balanced, but it was fairly split amongst the known teams – it was the surprise strength of the lower teams in one pool that made it lopsided. Nepean, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Blyth Academy, and St. Paul round out the upcoming top bracket. Ottawa convenors will be updating scores here.

Regionals will conclude eventually, then I can start previewing the Ontario provincial field.

 

Quick updates

NB & IHBB

Here are some quick updates for the week:

Kennebecasis Valley HS continued their lengthy run of success on the New Brunswick circuit, with their senior team sweeping the field to victory at the Nackawic leg of their regional tournaments. Fredericton HS came second, while KVHS also won in the junior division.

From a few weeks ago, Royal St. George’s College comfortably won the southern Ontario site of History Bowl. Their closest margin of victory was 70 points, and they swept the field of “Central Richmond Hill”, Westmount, and Chaminade. A member of RSGC also won the individual History Bee at that event. Ottawa’s site will be next on the agenda on March 3.

If anyone was curious about the recordings from Lisgar’s Reach tournament, they won’t be released until at least after Westmount uses the questions. The questions may possibly be used elsewhere as well.

Back in action

A Nationals preview?

After a hiatus for exams and holidays, tournaments are coming back on the schedule. SchoolReach regions will start soon, if they haven’t already, and a few other events are returning.

Lisgar’s independent Reach-style tournament will be held next Saturday. It doesn’t bring in the crowds of UTS’ event, but it is a surprisingly good preview for national championships: for the last three years, the Reach Nationals winner came second at Lisgar’s tournament. KV and UTS will be back, so it is quite possible for the national champion to again emerge from here. Lisgar will not be as much of a factor because strong players will be in hosting duties. Locally, Colonel By probably has the best chance of being the top Ottawa team (even with their situation of not playing SchoolReach), though Glebe will use this event as prep for SchoolReach regionals and a potential provincial qualification. I will be at this tournament, and I will hope to record some matches like I did last year.

History Bowl is returning to Canada. First up is the Southern Ontario site in Hamilton also next Saturday. UTS will not be attending (going to Lisgar), but they will get another qualification shot at a later Toronto site. Royal St. George’s and Westmount will be the favourites among the field to qualify, and with UTS away, RSGC has the potential to put in some incredible scores with a squad that is now in their senior year together. History Bowl’s Canadian championships will be held at RSGC in late April.

One more week until some new results! Good luck to all the teams!